Thoughts and observations on the Astros


This period between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs is rather strange. It reminds one of the All Star break. Everyone is flying forward at full speed, pauses for a few days and then hits the ground running again. This pause and a little research has resulted in today’s post.

Here are some thoughts and observations about our Astros:

  • Does anything better show the distance this team has traveled more than this? In the last three years the team has won 311 games. In the FIVE years (2010-2014) they won only 308 games.
  • A part of “ancient” history former Astro Matt Dominguez, who hasn’t played for the Astros in 5 seasons and nowhere else in 2 seasons is only 3 weeks older than George Springer.
  • The 2012 Astros were led in runs by Jose Altuve with 80 runs, Justin Maxwell was second with 46 runs. The 2019 Astros have five guys with more runs than Altuve (including Jose) and 9 players with as many or more than Maxwell. Alex Bregman led the team with 122 runs scored.
  • The 2012 Astros were led in HRs by Maxwell with 18. This year’s version of the team has seven players with more than that, led by Bregman’s 41 dingers.
  • The 2012 Astros were led in RBIs by J.D. Martinez with 55. 2019??? Nine players have more than 55 RBIs this year, led by…..Bregman again with 112.
  • Nothing is ever a sure thing in the playoffs. The Brewers thought they had the Nats just where they wanted them, up 2 runs with former Astro farm hand Josh Hader (37 of 44 on saves this season) on the mound to close. The Nats get 3 runs (2 earned) off Hader and the Brewers head home.
  • The playoffs are such small sample sets that slumps and streaks get magnified beyond the norm. In 2017, George Springer is almost useless against the Yankees and then in a 4 K first game against the Dodgers and then goes on a tear to win WS MVP. Marwin Gonzalez goes 11 for 61 (.180 BA) in the three playoff series in 2017, but hits the most impactful HR in Astros history in giving the team new life in the Game 2 classic win against the Dodgers.
  • Do I believe in jinxes? Maybe. I had to cringe a little when one of the local sports talk guys pointed out that Gerrit Cole had not lost in his last 22 starts – going 16-0 and the team going 20-2 in those starts.
  • Does it matter who the Astros play in the playoffs? Maybe statistically it does make a difference, that some of the teams are worse matchups than others, but in the end they have to take out three very good to excellent teams. There is no really easy path at this point.
  • It is a little nutty that something like five playoff roster spots may still be up in the air two days before the Astros start the ALDS. https://chipalatta.com/2019/09/30/astros-alds-roster-some-tough-choices/                   In truth it is likely that the team has one roster ready to go to face the A’s and another ready to go to face the Rays. Or they may have two versions of each – one with and one without Carlos Correa for both opponents. But it is not likely that the powers that be will be flipping coins over this on game day.
  • Alex Bregman with a .296 BA/.423 OBP/1.015 OPS slash and 122 runs/41 HRs/112 RBIs in 156 games will likely be 1st or 2nd in the AL MVP race vs. Mike Trout. If you factored George Springer’s numbers from his 122 games played to 156 games – he would be sitting at .292 BA/ .383 OBP/ .974 OPS with 123 runs/ 50 HRs/123 RBIs. That might have submarined any chance Bregman had of winning the MVP as there would be real debate on who was the MVP for the team.

So, any thoughts today as we await the Astros opponent and the Astros’ playoff roster for the ALDS?

68 comments on “Thoughts and observations on the Astros

  1. In the last post comments – Sarge was wondering how our W-L predictions went from the pre-season.
    Here are the three posts around the start of the season when folks did most of their predicting…. Some of it is fun – some makes you cringe. Enjoy

    https://chipalatta.com/2019/03/30/2019-baseball-predictions/

    https://chipalatta.com/2019/03/28/astros-opening-day-a-look-at-the-al-west-division/

    https://chipalatta.com/2019/03/21/10-questions-for-astros-fans/

    Liked by 1 person

    • I predicted Bregman would get MVP after hitting .340 (oops) with 50+ doubles (oops) 38 homers, OBP over .400, 100 + walks and a K total in the 80s. (Third link)

      Nice.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dan, you were pretty good on the team picks. Heck you got both of last nights wild card squads! We all got some stuff right and we all got some stuff wrong. I had forgotten that I’ve been down on Carlos since he decided to take Opening Day off. Really, who does that? That convinces me further that while he might well have legitimate injuries, I do think he’s a bit of a head case too, one who really wants more attention than he gets on this team full of great ballplayers playing together as a team.

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      • Yeah – good work Billy C. It is funny looking back. In one place I said Trout would edge Bregman for league MVP and another place I said Altuve would be the team MVP. I did pretty good on the playoff picks like you said.
        I like to go back and look at the old stuff sometimes. It keeps me humble. (For a little bit)

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  2. I’m looking forward to tonight’s match up. Watching last nights game reiterated to me that we’ve really got a heck of a team on paper. But I keep reminding myself that anything can happen in a short series. So I am trying to keep my expectations in check. That said, if our three starters do what they’ve been doing and the core guys in our pen simply do their jobs, then we’ve got a pretty good shot. We will score runs.

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  3. Gosh Dan. Wish you hadn’t said that about Cole.
    I also don’t like the media continually talking about how great this team is.
    Been waiting for this since February. Now I get more nervous every day.

    Both of these teams worry me. So I’m not pulling for either one.

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  4. Luhnow said today Correa is game time decision, but probably won’t be on the ALDS roster.

    Diaz is red hot, and this opens the door for Toro, I believe.

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  5. Maybe Luhnow is simply fed up with Correa and the injury that no doctor seems to have confirmed and he’s making clear the decision is something that Carlos has no control over. After all, Correa is the guy who has said several times that he’ll be all ready to go on Friday. How would he know that with much a tricky back injury?

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  6. Some thoughts on the Astros:
    -How many times this year did the Astros put this team that they have right now on the field? All their best players playing in their positions and their best pitchers pitching. That is going to happen the first three games of this series, if Correa is good to go. I’m going to say it’s happened less than a dozen times.
    -I don’t know what Luhnow said about Correa playing Friday, but Hinch said Correa is playing Friday.
    -When the Astros sat players to rest them for the playoffs, they didn’t sit Bregman. They wanted to give him a shot at MVP. But they also made it harder for him to get the MVP because with Brantley and Alvarez slumping, Bregman almost never saw a decent pitch to hit. When he did, he usually hit it hard.
    -I think that people are going to be surprised at Springer and Gurriel in the playoffs, two guys they are not talking much about.
    -The lineup that the Astros are going to run out there for the playoffs this year is going to be very similar to the lineup they run out for next year’s playoffs.

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    • I’ve been pretty clear with my thoughts on Correa, but my best hope is that he’s healthy and able to contribute starting on Friday afternoon.

      I don’t think Manaea is sharp enough to win throwing his fastball at 92, but if the A’s end up winning this one, I’ll look forward to guys like George and Yuli hitting against him.

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  7. Jim Crane was asked about resigning Cole, and sort of stuttered saying he would have to see about the cost of luxury tax. Just what Garrit Cole needs to hear.

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  8. Charlie Morton! Charlie Morton!! Ignore the dam drum dude.
    Have I mentioned how much I despise the Oakland A’s? I really do.
    Sean Manea *UGH*.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Someone tonight said the A’s were 2 for their last 49 with runners in scoring position. That will make a good bullpen look great.

    We are the better baseball team. If we play like it, we’ll beat the Rays in less than seven games.

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  10. I just read those old posts from DanP and the COMMENTS. I now know how a politician or someone feels when a reporter digs up a post that the person made on MySpace 10 years ago. In the future, Ix nay on the comments.

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  11. I saw the A’s at Minute Maid when they beat our guys that last Thursday night, and I guarantee you I did not want to see them come back. For Charlie, I am glad and happy. He became the first pitcher to win three winner take all post-season games. Only thing I wonder now is does this set up a deja vu for us that we are going to regret vuing ?

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  12. I love Charlie Morton, but I hope we kick his butt in game three. We beat him pretty soundly last time, back on August 27. It was his shortest outing of the season. The Rays are going to try and make our starters throw a lot of pitches. They’ve got an 18th ranked offense that will want to get to our pen. I’m really looking forward to this series! Trying to come up with the pitching staff is too hard, But I think there is going to be room for Abreu.

    Carlos is a big decision. That impacts several other decisions. If we knew he was fully healthy then we might see 12 pitchers, even in a 5 game series. I think it will be 11 at this point.

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    • According to Inside Edge: Data and Analytics (twitter), the Rays are 28th in the league vs 96 mph+ pitching (combines avg, slg., xBH).
      Astros are 24th.
      Dodgers are 1st.

      Abreu has earned it in every metric.
      Much higher likelihood Astros bring 11 pitchers.

      Correa will go, if Hinch has already said as much. My reasoning is, even if he can’t go Friday, he’d be excluded if he feels better Saturday. They have room, and they should roster him nonetheless.

      That still leaves room for Diaz Straw Tucker Alvarez and Jake for bench. So there wouldn’t be a decision — Diaz Bregman and Straw can all play SS. If CC can’t go, Toro is in.

      Springer CF
      Altuve 2B
      Brantley LF
      Bregman 3B
      Alvarez 1B
      Gurriel 1B
      Correa SS
      Chirinos C
      Reddick RF
      Verlander P

      Bench; Diaz, Straw, Tucker, Jake, Maldonado
      Cole Greinke Urquidy Osuna Pressly Harris James Smith Abreu, (You Pick #25)

      Miley, Devo, Rondon, Peacock.

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      • I think Straw remains too raw at short at this point and he can’t play third. If Carlos goes AWOL, Bregman plays every inning at short. That’s why I think Honest Abe has a pretty good shot. If Carlos goes down, we’re better off having Toro available.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’d say there’s a 99.99% chance Straw is on the playoff roster. Especially since I haven’t been wrong since 2014, or so.

        Wasn’t advocating he play SS, just that he could be a 3rd stringer. And I’ve read your comments on Straw going back to, “I thought he would look more athletic at shortstop.”

        I’m sticking with this anyway, because I wrote in January an article that said he would be on the playoff roster. Not bad considering he only had 10 plate appearances at the time.

        Daren Willman
        Myles Straw’s snag in the first inning (Jun 1) had a catch probability of 5%! Wow…. He needed to cover 80ft in 4.2 seconds and had a sprint speed of 31.7 ft/sec. That’s absolutely flying.

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      • If there is room, Straw is a great guy to run for someone late and a great guy to chase down a fly. He might well be taking Jake’s job next year.

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  13. If memory serves me correctly, the last time Morton pitched against us, we knocked him out early. I may be nervous but not worried. OP brought up a good point about Brantley & YA slumping. AB needs that protection. I believe YA was working on line driving balls towards the end of the season, to be more effective. If the top of the order is hitting with contributions from the bottom, I’ll sweat less. AJ will cobble together pitching as needed at the back end. I like our chances.

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      • I always forget Cy. He and his wife have two stops before they go to Alaska for the Winter, and on their way back to West Palm Beach in Feb. One is up Op’s way in Okla, I believe. His brother, and her fam, iirc.

        Astros have a big decision whether to keep these on 40 next year.
        Mayfield, Sneed, Armenteros, Deetz.

        These are the Rule V eligible; Donato, Bailey, Ramirez, Paredes, Tanielu.
        I believe every one of these names would be taken by another team, but could only be used sparingly in HOU next year. Tough decisions!

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    • rj – It is tomorrow – not sure of the time.

      The Braves – Cards play the early 4 PM today and announced theirs between 9 and 11, the Nats and the Dodgers play at 7:30 tonight and have yet to announce theirs. So I’m guessing about 4 hrs before tomorrow’s game we should hear at the latest

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      • You would think they would have them hand them in at the same time so neither team has a chance to see the other’s roster and make a change, but that does not appear to be required.

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    • What website? I don’t think it’s been decided.

      Everyone see the Reddick news?
      I’m a dad! Maverick Joshua Reddick- 6 pounds 19 1/4 inches. Ryder Blaze Reddick 5 pounds 10 ounces and 19 inches! I can’t believe it! My ❤️ is so full! They now share an Oct 2nd birthday with their big cousin…

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  14. It appears Glasnow will be on a pitch count tomorrow, and Snell might be as well. They are counting on these two guys to shut the Astros down, and then unleash their (((GULP))) bullpen to pitch the rest of the game.
    Grayson….I saw Josh’s news as well! Say goodbye to any sleep in the next 20yrs Josh!

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  15. Becky, That’s what good mamas are for while dad’s away makin’ hay!

    Hinch said Live that Correa gives him “no concerns” for Friday. They were worried about a setback if he pushed it too hard, and he “looks great!” To blend Luhnow and AJ, they’ve just been cautious.

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  16. *** Any thoughts . . . ? ***

    I’d rather be an Astro fan than root for any other team in the MLB. Imagine a team having Verlander, Cole, and Greinke as its first three starters; George Springer as its lead-off man; a line-up that features Altuve, Brantley, Bregman, Alvarez, Gurriel, Correa, and a suddenly red-hot, excited new father like Josh Reddick; a bullpen that includes Will Harris, Josh James, Ryan Pressley, and Robert Osuna [and probably Bryan Abreu, Brad Peacock, and Joe Smith]; a speedster/pinch-runner like Myles Straw; a versatile sub like Aledmys Diaz; and a late-inning defensive magician like Jake Marisnick.

    This team of superstars may or may not be at their best. They may or may not show up determined to give it all and win it all. But one thing is for sure – they will not be matched – or even approached – in either talent or potential.

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    • Oh, and just for fun imagine rooting for a team with a pitching staff that boasts TEN pitchers having a WHIP on the year under 1.20, seven with a WHIP on the year under 1.0, and eight with an ERA on the year under 3.25.

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  17. No Astros ALDS roster yet. A.J. Hinch. said some things are “coming down to the wire.”
    — Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) October 3, 2019

    I’m guessing this is between Abreu, Devo, Miley, Rondon and Peacock.

    Hinch has to pick 1.

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    • That’s what I said last night on this thread. Saying that must make Cole real warm and fuzzy. I love Garrit Cole, but not being able to keep Springer, and a few others…..doesn’t equal it out. PLUS…Crane doesn’t hold all the cards with this team…..he has a LOT of other investors who would have to be on the same page. He shouldn’t have commented on it yesterday, that’s a subject after the playoffs are over.

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    • I think if Crane wants Cole he’ll find a way to do it. Yes, Springer will be due a big contract, but Brantley and Reddick will come off the books in 2021. I don’t see us keeping Reddick as Tucker should be ready. That leaves another outfielder position. Maybe a big haul if we trade CC. Just a lot of question marks. For the time being lets take care of 2019 by winning the WS and then take care of 2020 and beyond.

      Like

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